You may not have a big backyard or the area for a large garden, but there are lots of options for a thriving collection of plants, trees, and shrubs in even the smallest space. These general gardening tips will have you enjoying all of the benefits of beautiful plantings no matter how compact your area is.
1. Plan ahead.
While just about any new plant will look great in a pot on your deck or patio it will be a different thing altogether when it grows to its full size. As a general gardening tip, make sure to consider a plant’s mature size when selecting shrubs and potted trees. You won’t want plants to outgrow the pots that you have room for and take over your space. Plants and shrubs that grow too big will overwhelm a small space or need to be removed to make room when they reach their full size. When shopping for trees and shrubs to plant always look at what the mature size will be and consider whether that will work for your environment.
2. Make use of window boxes.
Window boxes that can hang on patio railings are a great way to garden with small size plants, herbs, and flowers without taking up space on the ground. Window boxes are attractive to look at and add visual interest to your space, serving as a great backdrop for any small space. Consider planting flowers like pansies or petunias, try growing a small strawberry patch, or use a window box for starting an herb garden.
3. Heat things up.
Chilies are the perfect plant for small gardens. They’re easy to grow, hardy, and provide an attractive pop of color to any area. Those features are great general gardening tips to consider when selecting plantings for areas with even the most minimal space. Chili plants come in a number of varieties so you can select one that’s visually appealing and provides the right amount of spice for your palette. Chilies grow quickly in pots or window boxes, so you can get the look you want right away. Chilies are a great way to add some kick to your cooking, and a trimming of your plantings make a unique hostess gift or centerpiece if you bring them indoors.
4. Consider grasses.
A good general gardening tip is plantings that are hardy and easy to grow to keep your garden looking great even if you don’t have the greenest thumb. Tall grasses give your small space some vertical dimension which can make your area look more open and spacious. Grasses are quick to grow, require little maintenance, and stay visually pleasing year-round in many climates. Grasses sway nicely in the breeze, adding movement and a softness to any space, giving you the feeling of the great outdoors even in the tightest areas or urban patios.
5. Make an herb garden.
In general, when gardening in small spaces a smart tip is to choose plantings that will thrive in pots, and herbs are one of the best selections. They do very well in even the tiniest containers and are quick and simple to grow. Herbs like mint or rosemary will add a lovely, fresh fragrance to your space and it’s easy to snip some leaves from any herbs to add to your salads, marinades, or cooking. Try basil, thyme, cilantro, or parsley for simple and fresh additions to any small scale garden that you’ll enjoy throughout the spring and summer months, in pots that are easy to move indoors when the weather cools off.
6. Hang it up.
Hanging baskets are a good tip for gardening in small spaces and looking great in general. A hanging basket will free up floor space and draw the eye upward, making your area feel roomier and adding great dimension to the look of your garden. Hanging plants and flowers are easy to change out with the seasons and are a great way to switch things up on your deck or patio area. Opt for herbs, flowers, or try trailing plantings that will cascade over the sides of your baskets for a more rustic, natural look.
7. Grow vertically.
A good general gardening tip for small areas is to choose plants that will grow vertically instead of spreading out horizontally and taking up too much space on the ground level. Try things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, or grapes that will grow on vines. This will maximize your space and the vines will make a lovely addition to the look and feel of your space. These types of plantings are ideal for smaller scale areas where you want to enjoy a wealth of greenery without taking up too much space.
8. Welcome dwarves.
There are many larger plants, trees, and shrubs that also come in dwarf varieties that are perfect for small spaces. Incorporate some of these dwarf-sized plantings in your small garden to add a visual interest and allow you to enjoy the look you love from their larger siblings in a pint-sized option. In general, some tips for the most popular small gardening choices are dwarf sunflowers, quartz rose verbena, dwarf globe blue spruce, and rockspray cotoneaster.
9. Eat your veggies.
Enjoy a bounty of fresh vegetables by selecting varieties that thrive in small pots. Despite what you might think, you don’t need a large, sprawling garden to grow your favorite vegetables. A good general gardening tip is to choose vegetables that do well in small containers. Radishes, chives, spinach, carrots, lettuces and other microgreens are great options that you can enjoy all spring and summer long, in even the most limited spaces.
10. Rethink your pots.
More and more people are growing gardens in urban spaces or small areas and there are some new and innovative container solutions that allow you to make the most of your yard or patio. There’s a good variety of vertical pots on the market today, including climbing containers or hanging pockets where you can grow a series of plants by using the ground space that only one regular pot would take up. Using this type of container is a great general gardening tip for making the most of a small-scale garden.
Whether you fancy flowers, vegetables, or herbs, most gardeners pour their hearts and souls into their gardens. Unfortunately, there are times when nature attempts to thwart our efforts. Important considerations in general gardening tips are plant selection, soil condition, climate, and so much more. What follows are some ways to avoid and overcome some of the obstacles of gardening, so that you can reflect upon your growing season with joy and success.
Tip 1 – Know Your Soil Type
When starting an in ground garden, it is a good idea to know what type of soil you are dealing with. Soil conditions can be sandy, mostly clay, silty, or peaty, (to name a few). Soil is unique and affects the success of your gardening efforts. You may need to include additives or reconsider certain plant selections to accommodate the conditions available to you. Many people will add topsoil when starting a garden. A general gardening tip to remember when adding topsoil is that it is imperative to mix it with the existing soil. Failure to do this will create a water barrier between the two different soil types.
Tip 2 – Test Your Soil pH
Unless you remember your high school chemistry, you may be wondering what is meant by “pH.” The pH indicates whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. When you look at the tags that come with your starter plants, they will specify the preferred pH. There are inexpensive soil testers you can purchase at most gardening centers to determine the pH of the soil. If the pH is wrong for the plant you have chosen, there are several additives to correct the problem. For instance, to lower the pH (make your soil more acidic) you can include a sulfur additive or peat moss. To create a more alkaline environment, crushed limestone will do the trick. The best general gardening tips start with knowing what will make your plants thrive from the roots on up.
Tip 3 – Research Your Climate Zone
An important general gardening tip is to find out your climate zone. Look online for the “USDA plant hardiness zone” to determine your zone based on your specific location. You would not want to invest in a lilac tree if you are in zone 8. It would be wise to keep terrain characteristics in mind as well. For example, if you reside in a valley, cold air will flow in from the mountains and settle like oil in water.
Tip 4 – Plant Selection
When choosing plants for your freshly-turned garden, there are many considerations to keep in mind. A plant from the nursery may look healthy and green, but the real story is in its roots. Take a moment to inspect their hardiness. After all, you are buying the whole plant. Also, examine the plant for insects. One infected plant could be a disaster for your entire garden.
Also, selecting suitable companion plants will enable a mutually beneficial relationship as they share nutrients, sunlight, and space. Companion plants can also enrich the taste of some vegetables or herbs and increase your yield. Planting the wrong plants next to each other could be harmful for your garden. For example, if you plant an artichoke next to squash, you’ll find that the artichoke will live up to its name and choke the life out of its neighbor. Artichokes are huge plants so place them in a large space with a climbing type plant like cucumbers.
Tip 5 – Protect Your Plants from Harmful Insects and Frost
This site would be remiss to exclude protection from pests and frost from this list of general gardening tips. Using one of the plant protection devices from Safegrow will allow you to plant earlier in the spring and protect your plant from insects and frost.
Aphids will invade nearly every kind of plant. They suck on the plant sap and spread disease. Neem oil is a natural repellent for this and many pests. Ladybugs are beneficial bugs that eat aphids as well as several other garden insects. They can be purchased and released into your garden. Slugs are often a problem as well. Before you begin pouring some noxious chemical onto your soil, consider eggshells. They not only deter slugs (and deer), but they add nutrients to your soil as well.
Tip 6 – Animals That Love Your Garden Too
Speaking of deer, pests of the animal variety can also be a nuisance. Birds, rabbits, deer, and moles can be problematic creatures for any garden. Of course, a fence or a greenhouse is the best defense. You may also try including animal repellant plants in your garden. For instance, a garlic barrier around your herbs or vegetables will deter smaller critters. Planting mint and lavender will ward off many rodents. Dill and rosemary dissuade deer. The possibilities for protection while keeping your garden beautiful are endless.
Tip 7 – Deciding on Garden Types
There are many options for your garden other than the traditional ground level garden. There is the popular raised bed garden, vertical gardens, greenhouse gardens, and container gardens (to name a few). I have even seen gardens constructed with PVC piping. A general gardening tip would be to consider the factors contributing to your decision such as space, financial investment, and what variety of plants you wish to grow.
Tip 8 – Plant Placement
Keeping all the prior gardening tips in mind, now you have gone and purchased your plants. When deciding where to place each plant, it is important to keep the plants in their pots and simply set them where you think you may want to put them. It can be harmful to the plant roots to be planted then dug up because you have changed your mind. So, I suggest you do a trial run of sorts prior to permanently planting.
Tip 9 – Watering Your Garden
A general gardening tip regarding watering is to water thoroughly. If only the surface is watered, it results in roots remaining at the surface rather than growing downward where they obtain most of their nutrients. Consider using a soaker hose so that the roots are not deprived of water.
Tip 10 – Rotate Your Plants
Each year you should rotate your plants. This will correct nutrient fluctuations from the prior year and result in a more desirable outcome whether they are edibles or ornamental.
While Mother Nature is all about bringing forth new life, she always seems to impart numerous challenges. You probably agree, but those challenges are half the fun of gardening! Use these general gardening tips and your efforts will be rewarded with beautiful flowers and landscaping as well as delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Gardening can be a fun, creative, and relaxing pastime. Explore your inner organic artist and build yourself a garden.
Gardening is a venture that not only nourishes the body, but also the spirit. The satisfaction you feel as you cultivate, tend to and protect your plants is indescribable. A gardener recognizes the gratification of harvesting a plant when it reaches fruition or selecting the perfect flower to brighten their home. Here are 10 steps to get you started.
Step 1: Know your soil
Before selecting seeds or plants for your garden, you should test your soil. Testing and knowing what type of soil you are working with is important to plant protection.
- Sandy soil will be dry and gritty. It will not hold nutrients for your plants or seedlings.
- Silty soil has smaller particles than sandy soil and is smooth. However it does not retain the nutrients as well and retains too much water.
- Clay soil is clumpy, as you can imagine. It is difficult to work with especially in the summer.
- Peat soil is rich in organic matter when saturated. Peat is great for regulating the acidic quality in soil and is a preferred soil in non-dry environments.
- Saline soil is dry (high salt components) and can damage the roots or impedes the growth of your plants.
You can bring a sample of your soil to your local garden experts for testing. They will recommend which plants and seedling are best for your type of soil or make suggestions as to the proper treatment best suited for plant protection and growth.
Step 2: Selecting your garden sites
Dependent on the type of garden you desire, it will determine the location of your garden(s). If you want plants that require mostly sun, the area of your garden should face east. For moderate to part-shade plants, select a growing area with late afternoon sun or shade.
You may want to consider investing in a greenhouse. Greenhouses are a gardener’s dream. A greenhouse not only allows you to select the perfect soil for your plants and seedlings, it also provides plant protection. Benefits of a greenhouse are numerous. They protect your plants from inclement weather and provide pest control. Additionally, you decide how much water and light your plants obtain. You can also take advantage of a greenhouse by starting your seedlings under controlled conditions to ensure their growth and production. Another great feature of a greenhouse is your protection. You can garden to your heart’s delight, regardless of time of day or weather conditions.
Step 3: Mapping out or designing your garden area
What type of garden are you hoping for: flowers, veggies, herbs, or all of these? Start by marking off the desired area(s). This should give you an idea of how big your garden(s) will be and how much land they will consume. If you have artistic ability, I would suggest you sketch it out on paper to gain a clearer idea of what you are looking for. Keep in mind your plants need protection during your planning. You wouldn’t want them destroyed by neighborhood wildlife/domestic animals, children, car fumes or the like.
Step 4: Preparing the ground
Now it is time to get down and dirty and prepare the ground. Selecting the appropriate tools to accomplish this in the most efficient manner should be your next consideration. If your garden is small, then manual garden tools may be best suited. If the area is rather large or you have physical limitations or concerns, consider renting or purchasing a garden tiller.
Just dig in, whether using a shovel, garden claw or tiller, break ground. As you move along, separate the soil from the grass or weeds. Try to get all the unwanted roots to protect your plants and enhance the garden’s appearance. This will also help in minimizing maintenance in the upcoming weeks. Take care to remove all stones, glass and other non-garden debris before moving to step 5.
Step 5: The proper soil mix for your garden
Add an appropriate amount of fertilizer or manure to the soil and mix well. Do not over fertilize the soil as it can be unhealthy for your plants or could kill them. Your garden expert or the fertilizer bag should recommend the appropriate amount. A premium blend of garden soil should be turned in as well. This will provide the nutrients your plants may not get from the existing soil. You may need to add something to increase or decrease the acidic or alkaline levels in the soil. Re-add some stones for adequate water drainage and plant protection from root rot.
Step 6: Selecting your plants or seeds for your garden
You are now ready to plant. Select plants or seeds that best suit your growing conditions. Some plants complement one another. For instance, marigolds provide plant protection by warding off garden pests.
Consider keeping your veggies/herbs separate from flowers or shrubs as they have specific requirements for successful growth. As you go through the selection process, height and width, blooming time and color should be things to keep in mind. Veggie/herb gardens need the same considerations.
Step 7: Planting your garden
You are finally ready to put your plants or seeds in the ground. I would recommend before you start digging to place them, you lay them out in their perspective places. Take a step back and evaluate your layout. Address any concerns mentioned in step 6.
Plant garlic around your vegetable or herb garden for plant protection. Garlic is a natural and safe way to keep nuisance nibblers from invading your plants. Garlic cloves planted around the perimeter make a nice deterrent or you can spray your plants with a mix of water and crushed garlic to discourage pests from feasting.
Step 8: Tending your garden
Water your gardens regularly as specified. Watering in the early evening helps with water retention. Check the soil for acidity and alkalinity regularly as you may need to increase or decrease the levels dependent on your plants needs.
Step 9: Weeding and pruning
Gardens require weeding and pruning. Your work isn’t over yet. Weed often for plant protection from strangulation. Weeding helps the plants stay healthy as weeds rob your garden of nutrients and water. Pruning plants keeps them from over growth, unsightliness and promotes healthy new growth.
Step 10: Harvesting your fruits and vegetables
It is time to reap the benefits of your work and diligence. Remember plant protection is critical for a healthy successful garden. ENJOY!